J. Albrecht: Pure heartlessness

On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Dec. 7, a national television station carried the perfect definition of the U.S. welfare problem on its home page. A Seattle, Wash., chiropractor and his wife received more than $100,000 in welfare benefits while living in a $1.2 million home with their two children and flying all over the world in the past eight years.

Meanwhile, in Laredo, Texas, a woman shot and critically wounded her two children in a Texas Department of Health and Human Services building and then killed herself after being denied food stamps for the past five months because she didn’t provide enough information. She was required to complete an 18-page application and provide proof of employment and residency.

Texas welfare officials didn’t know what required information was missing, or whether she would have qualified if whatever was missing had been supplied.

Now, Gov. Paul LePage wants to fix the state budget by taking 65,000 poor and disabled people off the Medicaid eligibility rolls. That is the arrogance, stupidity and pure heartlessness that motivates the Republican Party elite. While the 1-percenters loot the treasury and the 99-percenters are denied even the smallest bit of respect, Republican politicians in Washington and Maine take their marching orders from the Koch Brothers and the Heritage Foundation.

Stop the looting. Pass an income tax surcharge large enough on those earning more than $100,000 a year to balance the Maine budget.

No cuts, no new restrictions on eligibility in Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security are morally acceptable.

Jonathan Albrecht, Dixfield

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Comments

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Smoke and mirrors

I finally found an independent asssessment of the financial woes existing in the DHHS budget. As expected some of them are real and some are exaggerated. For example new claimants account for $6 million of the $200 million shortfall. So much for Maine as the welcome wagon for the world's poor especially when you consider the recent state of the economy. $19 million is from billing that occurred last year and was not done last year but was added to this year's budget and should have been anticipated not a shortfall. There is also no explanation of why this happened. It is possible the State does not actually owe this money and that they are billing errors. $19 million is for the non-medical care and treatment of alzheimer's patients in residential facilities. This is not funded by federal medicaid now but will be after the implementation of the new health care law. So we are looking at throwing them out of their homes and putting them back in later. Also the assumption is being made the the entire amount will come out of the general fund ignoring other sources of funding that will most likely be used. It seems the legislature has plenty of room to whittle down this huge amount.

Joe Morin's picture

Same problem...

The problem is that households that spend irresponsibly are no different than governments that spend irresponsibly. No one ever planned for a rainy day.

 's picture

The real heartlessness ...

... belongs to Baldacci and King, both of whom expanded the welfare rolls by unsustainable amounts. Both had the numbers in the legislature and could have hiked taxes to sustain their expansion, but they didn't, because they knew the voters would give the party the ax. So, with complete heartlessness, they kicked the can down the road, without the slightest care for the future.

The ax fell anyway, the can stopped rolling, and Republicans are trying to deal with the morally unacceptable mess created by Democrats.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

We should not forget that

We should not forget that greed has many faces. I read a lot about wanting to squeeze more from the rich for to provide benefits for themselves. Perhaps there is a bit of greed and envy in the “tax the rich” message.

If the rich truly have the ability to loot the treasury, simply taxing them more may just incent them to loot more? Perhaps a more productive and longer lasting solution is to stop the looting.

 's picture

Welfare

Looking into welfare fraud and those making a life of it should concern those that are down and out through no fault of their own and some that never was on it before as well as those that worked all their lives and have to share it with those that never paid a dime into the system. Maybe if they cleared out the bad apples there would be enough to help those that just want a leg up til hopefully the economy improves. This state ranks last in nearly everything good except our open door plan with empty pockets. Those that want to see an end to people living off the city and state as a career doesn't make them monsters or not understanding of those having a hard time right now. Start cutting into the perks and pork here and in Washington would add a few coffers to the pot. When an individual tries to point out some ways to help they are told they don't have the people to look into the fraud reports. What could be saved by investigating would make a good pay for someone. I know smoker's and drinkers don't want to hear it but if one can afford 40 dollars plus for cigarettes should have their foodstamps cut by that amount. Smoking is not an illness and yes you can quit. Why should someone that has quit be expected to pay so someone else can smoke? You go into the emergency room or First Alert and the majority there are those with medical cards and I have a hard time to believe they have more emergencies then anyone else. Calling an ambulance for a ride to the hospital when able to go in a taxi cause its free is fraudulent and should be made to pay the money back.

 's picture

priorities

We know Lepage's priorities - $200 million in tax cuts for those who don't need them, and $220 million in medicare cuts for the helpless.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Rock on Jonathan!!

Many of the folks in that income bracket are in the state, educational, or health care payroll systems. The cost to run this state is too high, the cost for higher education is too high and the cost of health care is too high. Poetic justice I say.

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